How Far Could You Deal With Stress?

Posted by Analyse at 6:31 PM

Monday, March 19, 2007

Most people try to personnalize their work areas to bring a certain life, a certain balance and a certain detachment from work. I, for one, have Louna's picture on my office wall and on my laptop's wallpaper and screensaver. A colleague displays one of his paintings on his wall. Another one, his wife (nope, no darts on the picture, promise).

It's normal. We spend most of our lives at work. A lot of people identifies themselves via their job. It's a source of self-esteem. It's a haven to those who want to showcase their competences, their skills and their talents. It's a place where we prove what we could do best. In fact, work has become not only a source of financial health but mental health as well. But what if stress has taken over to all that?

In France, some people are blaiming the 35 hour-per-week system as a source of stress. In fact, they get the same workload for lesser working hours. Add to that the massive delocalization of a lot of companies. Most are afraid to lose their jobs one day so they try to be productive and competitive, sometimes way beyond their capabilities. The latest news about Alcatel-Lucent suppressing 12,500 jobs worldwide in the next 3 years (1,500 in France) has just added to their mounting stress boosters.

The company Renault counted 3 suicides in 4 months. The last one left a letter clearly blaiming his working conditions as the cause of his act. The other two didn't leave any letter but have chosen their work areas as their death beds. Not long after, Peugeot Citroen followed suite with one suicide and another tentative. Both evoking their working conditions as the culprit.

Another news came directly in my mailbox. A manager from my previous post died of massive heart attack and the family is blaiming his big boss because of too much pressure. It seems that the defunct had been complaining about his work conditions too. The sad part is that he was obliged to resign because he couldn't take it anymore and he was just finishing his contract. He was close to freedom. He probably waited too long. - This news really shocked me. A Filipino died of too much pressure? We're known for being jolly, right. Tinatawanan lang natin ang problema. He must have endured too much pressure..

Based on personal experience, I've always considered these frenchies as more stressed-out fellows compared to Filipinos. But it's contagious. I now spend some sleepless nights thinking about work, and when I finally catch sleep, I then dream about work. I'm trapped in the system. I do try to manage it tho. Louna is my main stress buster, blogging is another way.

How about you? How do you deal with it?


Leah said...

a time for myself - alone , relaxes me the most.

I dont like taking home work even if its just in my mind. Over the years of working, I've learnt to leave it behind where it is.

Try to do that too.

nao said...

hello bakla, medyo may allergy pa ko ngayon sa mga usapang "stress". Dahil baka makabili lang ako ng lubid nang wala sa oras ahaha! kidding aside, yeah.. blogging is one useful tool. Also, being with the company of funny friends. And when at home, cuddling with the kids.

Makis said...

Working environement in France is changing talaga as I see it with mon mari & from job hunting - companies are looking for more & more polyvalent all-round workers. Pano ka ba naman di ma-stress eh you have to do the job of at least 2 to 3 people?! Arriving France, stress is one of the ambiance I couldn't miss. Home, for us is the only place of detachment.

analyse said...

Leah, im a work in progress. and im improving. before, i was even bringing my laptop at home and work on weekends.

Nao, bading, hintayin mo munang bumaba ang presyo ng lubid, taas ng presyo ngayon hehehe.. yes blogging makes me think of something else, nakakalimutan ko work hehe..

Makis, sinabi mo pa. stress is everywhere here, everything actually is big deal, kaya kahit minsan, kahit for me, di pa papasa as problema, problema na sa kanila. hay buhay.. and we have to deal with them everyday...

but i guess the economic situation right now is really the culprit, parang lahat takot mawalan ng trabaho, and of course, ang hirap maghanap ng trabaho di ba..

tintin said...

*Scratches head* I thought the French were relaxed and vacation-happy? That is sad to hear. Is this mostly with American companies?

analyse said...

Tintin, they're vacation-happy, alright, but relaxed? Errrr, me thinks not really. Of course, I cannot generalize, but working with them for almost 3 years now (and 2 years when I was in the Phils), I could say that they are somewhat auto-stress-generators hehe. The fact that they have an image to keep, ya know, first world, they have to be advanced in technology etc etc..

Another problem is that, they're afraid of change. Generally. Everytime there's something new proposed by the government for example, the reflex answer is NO. So you see, everything starts from there.

PS: of course all that is from my point of view and how i see things. every french is aware of that but they will contest it 100%.

PPS: all of the companies mentionned are french companies (alcatel-lucent is french-american).

Heart of Rachel said...

When I was working, I would often go out after work with my colleagues. We'll have coffee together. A nice cup of coffee and good conversation (not work related) somehow helped ease the tension accumulated that day.

Now, my son helps ease my stress. His smile and laugh certainly has its magic touch.

kat said...

i thought the european lifestyle was more stress-free! they do take more vacations, work less, eat better food, etc...

but i digress... i always try to balance everything so that i always have some "me" time when i can just unwind. the bebe's asleep by 8 pm, so after that, everything's about me. i have dinner with the hubs, we watch tv, or i read a book. i also unwind by playing music, go to band practice 1x/week, and am now trying to fit the gym in a couple of times a week.

but my fave thing really is to unwind by reading a book and escaping away.

haze said...

How I deal with stress ? Well, the simplest way to destress is go out on vacation! Hubby has 7 weeks vacation in a year kaya as much as possible, hala larga bakasyon! Another way is to invite friends over dinner, have some good laughs, apperitif, wine, cheese ! Or go picque nicking, lapit lang kaya kami sa park ;) !

Naku Ana, wag kang padadala sa sa stress nila ! Kaya ng powers mo yan !

Francesca said...

training lang kelangan nila on how to be realistic in life.
mostly kasi hindi na binabalance ng spirituality and reality ang buhay .
Work, work work even at home na, yung brain nila numbers pa rin ang laman!lol

nakakakatulong ang pag babasa ng Psalms 23:1-6 in the "Great Book".

Balansehin ang buhay.
Not many do these anymore.

Our Creator in heaven is our Boss that do not give pain on the work we do for Him.And He gave rewards with out asking :what have you done to deserve a "good salary" from me???
Tax free pa yan, lol

thats why not many dont have peace and security.

because some strikes in the wind to gain more, but inner peace, kulang.
when did the last time they read His Words and meditate on them by prayer?
Kaya they go nowhere.

Sorry ana,haba post comment ko, na carried away na naman ako sa topic mo, ganda kasi.

Teka, may bago akong blog topic, another comedy, hihihi!

AL said...

I had a breakdown a year and a half ago and I do not want that to happen to me again. I take evening walks if it doesn't work, I go back to Carnegie's book - How to stop worrying and start living LOL. Really, literally. If this doesn't work, a glass of white wine (maybe 2 or 3, okey maybe 4 if it is really bad LOL)

Have a nice week ahead!

chase said...

Well playing games and blogging helps fight stress for me. But despite with my busy schedule here I still manage to juggle almost everything.

Also, working with my colleagues here isnt quite a hassle. Actually I am sometimes the one responsible that people stress-out here since I am quite demanding when it comes to work.

nao said...

na destress na ba ang stress natin dyan ha bading.... :)

Linnor said...

Work-related suicides? Yikes! Now you're scaring me... Your post just reminded me to take it easy, something I forget to do when I get caught up in the thick of things.

Thanks for the nudge.

analyse said...

Rachel, bonding between colleagues here in France is not the same as there in the Philippines. I remember, I went out a lot with my officemates when I was still working there. Here, we go out from time to time, but only to drink a glass of whatever somewhere and then that's it. No real friendship being formed. We sometimes organize some dinner party at home, but it needs a lot of preparation etc etc... what's in the menu, is the house clean, do we have enough alcohol???.. even that is stressing, ngek.

Kat, they do take more vacations, work less, eat better food, etc.... They have 35 paid leave per year, so they have to work more to meet their targets.. when I just arrived here, I thought that they don't work enough.. but now, I feel more exhausted working here than in the Philippines.... it's not because I work more physically, basta.. iba.

re: eat better food. I don't know if Americans feel the same social pressure, but here, they care a lot about their appearance. Don't be obese here, otherwise, they will think that you're sick!

Haze, kaya pa naman ng powers ko hehe. If I'm really disturbed with something, Frenchguy serves as my stress absorber. HInahayaan nya na lang ako na i-maudit yung countrymen nya hehe. He's just considering na iba work culture ko so daan sa isang tenga, labas sa kabila haha.

Francesca, true ka dyan. Nobody talks about spirituality here.

kk, ill check that out later ;)

Al, I guess I'll opt for the glass of white wine hahaha..

Chase, you've got a good notion of time management, keep it up. So, is the dancemat works well for you? I have to check your site out ;)

Nao, medyo medyo. Ikaw musta na? im quite busy these days, I haven't check any news from you..

Linnor, yep, that's how far they could go here. Too much stress probably.. and people here views things quite scary nga, like a lot of people chooses not to have a baby because they don't want to leave their child in such a world of chaos, pollution, fear, insecurity, etc etc.

Rhada said...

Work stress? Ano yun? charing! How do I deal with it? Nangangagat ako!! lol. Kidding aside, I don't let it get to me. I have a very lax work environment, and very nice work schedule too. And kapag dumadating yung time na talagang hectic kami, as in nagkakasigawan at nagkakaasaran, I don't take it personally.It's all part of the game....

One thing that I've noticed here in Germany though is that (most) people "live to work"...parang routine ang lahat. parang robot. parang hindi sila masaya. ang tanging ligaya nila eh yung bakasyon grande once a year. siguro, observations ko lang, coming from a culture na sobrang carefree at nakangiti kahit may problema....

KK said...

Work related suicides? Oh my goodness. I thought it's supposed to work to live and not live to work. Loving what you do is really important because you do it 8 hours a day. 40 hours work week dito. Some people even have to work 2 jobs to make ends meet. Well, easy for me to say because I'm not in the workforce right now but then again, even when I was still working at a a high stress position it was able to deal with it because I actually enjoyed the pressure(sick ha?). There are times that it gets too much but it's the camaraderie among my teammates that gets me through. The sense of humour also helps alot. Having that factor of thinking that "this is not the only company in the world who hire me" helps tremendously. Setting priorities straight is also important. Remember the five balls, the family/yourself is a glass ball- that when dropped is broken. The other balls are rubber, they bounce back.

KK said...


I have to quote a friend when he was dealing with people at work, here his dialogue: "You might own 8 hours of my time every working day but you don't own me. There's a difference and I'll have you be reminded of that" Ang taray ano-bilibs! Yan ang self-esteem. Hindi maka-imik ang boss, hahaha.... asset eh.

tintin said...

I'm so shocked. They can keep their wine thank you! I am very happy at my stress-low job here in big, obese-ridden USA. :)

gracita said...

everyday, i see and hear harvey rant about work related problems. he takes his work too seriously. i can see harvey as the one having work-related health problems in the future. ako, i work...very hard din naman, i think. but i don't think about it after 5pm or during the weekend. that's the only time i have for myself and for my family. but i can understand why many people are attached to their job. work is normally the measure of success kasi.

wow, 35hrs per week lang sa france? in most countries, it's 40hrs diba?

nao said...

dumaan ulit bakla.. nagpa relak relak dito sa condo mo.. hehe

analyse said...

Rhada, kaya pala di ka nila ini-stress e, nangangagat ka hehe. But yes, I know a lot of people who identifies themselves via their job, so they work a lot, minsan at the detriment of their family life. hay life. i was discussing with another mom minsan and she recounted na masaya sya sa nanny nya kasi her only child arrives at home real tired na pagdating sa bahay, kain and tulog na kaagad. ganun? and she looked happy naman, not stressed out.

KK, France is one of the biggest consumer of anti-depressors and other stress-related medecines, so I heard. That explains. French employees keep a certain attachment to their companies, a lot of them stay in one company for probably 20 yrs or more. Some even stay with only one company for the whole of their existence. I think that if they're stressed out or whatever in their job, the solution 'I'll go find a greener pasture' doesn't come to mind automatically.

By the way, most of the executive levels are on a flat rate basis. And most of them never worked 35h in the entire 35h-system. They normally work more, even more than 40h a week, without OT payments.

re: your friend. taray! here (where i work), i never heard people complaining about time they spend at work. i even receive emails at 11pm or weekends. .. in fact, it's the effect of the 35h in globality (low productivity, delocalisation, etc) which brings stress at work. Please read here.

Tintin, I hope I didn't offend you about my previous comment about obesity. The problem with them is that they always overreact even on small problems. Talking about wine.. here, if for example they have less wine production because of natural calamity, they would ask the government for compensation... in the Philippines, the son of Juan dela Cruz would certainly stop schooling for that school year because of lack of funds, the government wouldn't even care.... they're spoiled brats... and they always complain.. and they're stressed out.

Gracita, and because of 35h that people around the globe think that they dont work enough hehe..

Nao, can i serve you something bading?

jaleesa said...

hi sis, long time no hear. hope all is well at your end.

how do i cope with stress? ok naman ako. tumatawa pa rin *hehehe* kahit stressed out, i get to finish my tasks/projects on time. depende na rin siguro sa time management.

anywayz, i hate my new job. actually, i hate my colleagues. hate is a strong word pero yun ang tamang description ko sa kanila. they are so rude at walang respeto . kaya siguro umalis yun dating kasamahan nila. since ako ang newbie, ako naman ang pinupuntirya. ok lang sana, napagtyatyagaan ko pero kung pagtsismisan ka at gumawa ng story sa ibang dept is totally wrong!

so i've made up my mind and will resign next thurs (apr 5). yahoooo! can't wait. walang team work at sobrang kitid ng mga utak nila. hayyy, ayokong pumangit *hehehe*

ingatz sis. cute ng bebe mo.

analyse said...

Jaleesa, good move! why stay in a company where you can't breath anymore di ba..